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Senate Democrats Successfully Boycott Confirmation of Two Trump Cabinet Appointees, But DeVos Moves On

Democrats in the Senate threw a bit of a monkey wrench into the Republicans’ plans to confirm two of President Trump’s cabinet appointees today when they refused to show up for the vote. Without any Democrats present, the Republicans did not have the quorum needed to vote on Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) for head of the Department of Health and Human Services and Steve Mnuchin for Treasury Department lead.

According to Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the reason for the boycott was because they had felt the two appointees had “misled the public and held back important information about their backgrounds.” Without enough information about them, senators moved to delay the vote completely. “This is about getting answers to questions, plain and simple. Ethics laws are not optional, and nominees do not have a right to treat disclosure like a shell game,” Wyden continued.

Republicans were (predictably) not happy with the move, and there wasn’t any hint of self-awareness that they were being held to the same obstructionist tactics they used all throughout President Obama’s administration. Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) had some… comments about the boycott, saying:

“There isn’t a fellow on the other side I do not care for. Normally they’re very honorable and decent people. That’s why it’s so shocking to me that they’re not here when we’ve given them every opportunity to be here. … That’s not only ridiculous, it’s offensive.

I think they ought to stop posturing and acting like idiots. Stop holding news conferences and come here and express yourself here and vote one way or the other.”

As Trump rolls out executive order after executive order, many members of the public have felt that their Democratic representatives and senators have yet to make any kind of stand in opposition to the continued consolidation of Republican power.

In fact, this morning, Betsy DeVos took another step closer to being confirmed as head of the Department of Education as the Senate committee (very narrowly) voted in favor of putting her before the entire Senate for confirmation. According to Click On Detroit, the vote, which took place twice, fell 12-11 along party lines. The Democrats on the committee tried to delay the vote here as well, hoping to stall it by another week. Unfortunately, the move failed, and the two vote sessions stood.

While it may seem like these battles are occurring far out of the reach of everyday citizens, it’s important to keep in mind that these obstructionist actions taken by these Senators are taken mostly because of pressure from their constituents. Keep in mind that the government works for us, but it only does so if we flex our own political activist muscles and remind them that they literally represent us. Making your voice heard and keeping up with the consistent pressure will be ever more important as we go forward.

Now that it’s up to the Democrats in the wider Senate to block Betsy “But What About the Grizzly Bears” DeVos from taking control of the public education system, your voice matters more than ever.

(via Huffington Post)

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Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (, and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters ( She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.